The Donegal finalists in this year’s Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition pictured at Gartan
Fourteen of Donegal's brightest young entrepreneurs will be working on fine-tuning their business plans and rehearsing their pitches as they get set for the finals of the local stage of Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) next month.
The Donegal competition had 56 entries this year and having come through the initial selection process on the basis of the potential demonstrated in their ideas and businesses, the local finalists were in Gartan last week for an intensive three-day business bootcamp.
The 14 finalists come from across the county and have a diverse range of business ideas. They are:
Lorraine Gallagher - Carrigart
Rakesh Kumar -Donegal Town
Hithesh Shaji - Stranorlar
Paul McLaughlin - Carndonagh
Peter Reynolds - Letterkenny
Kealan McLaughlin - Letterkenny
Laura Bonner - Moville
Aidan Friel - Kerrykeel
Philip Graham - Letterkenny
Martin O’Reilly - Ballybofey
Barry Walsh - Ballyliffin
Fiona Murphy - Letterkenny
Siobhan Boyle - Letterkenny
Catriona McGinley - Kilcar
The finalists will compete now in the Donegal finals on May 2, not just for a share of the €50,000 prize fund in Donegal, but also to compete at the Regional Finals to be held in Leitrim in June.
Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, says IBYE has been hugely popular among the county's brightest young entrepreneurs over the past few years.
"We have found over the years that participants were delighted with the training and assistance they had received from being part of the competition. Indeed, many said they felt like winners irrespective of who actually took the various titles."
According to Mr. Tunney the business bootcamp will have helped this year's finalists fine tune their business plans, learn new enterprise skills and avail of the highest quality one to one mentoring and
"The feedback year on year from businesses who have taken part in IBYE, has been that the training and advice they received has been invaluable and has helped them immensely with their business goals and ambitions.
"All 14 of this year's finalists demonstrated great energy and commitment over the weekend. The insight and learning they will have picked up at the bootcamp will help them immensely on their journey as entrepreneurs beyond the competition," Mr Tunney said.
The finalists will undergo more intensive mentoring over the coming weeks ahead of a presentation of their businesses to a judging panel.
The winners will then be announced at a special ceremony in Letterkenny on May 2.
Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020.
For information about the supports and services on offer from Local Enterprise Office, Donegal call 07491 60735
CAPTION FOR MAIN PIC: The Donegal finalists in this year’s Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition pictured at Gartan recently with mentor Thomas Cullen and with Local Enterprise Office staff Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise, Brenda Hegarty, Assistant Head of Enterprise; Eve Anne McCarron Business Advisor and Grace Korbel, Assistant Business Advisor.